With the increasing popularity of the slow food/slow cooking movement, more and more chefs and home cooks are beginning to bring the focus back to quality, well-cooked meals.
After decades of nuked, frozen dinners, this return to a more patient, thought out style of cooking is well welcomed on many a dinner table.
In honor of this great transition, we've put together a list of our favorite old or lost cooking techniques and why they are worth rediscovering.
Photo courtesy shioshvili via Flickr/CC
Pit CookingPit cooking, often used for barbecue, is great for everything from large, whole animals to smaller bean pots or clam bakes. While still popular in New England and Hawaii for just these things, this approach to cooking is also great for summer parties no matter the climate.
When digging your pit, it is important to line the bottom and sides of the area with medium-sized flat rocks before adding the bonfire materials of your choice. Be sure there is no shale in the rocks chosen, shale can explode when heated.
Try it out with this Roast Suckling Pig recipe.
Clay Pot CookingIn clay pot cooking, an unglazed clay pot is soaked in water prior to cooking to steam the food while diffusing heat during the cooking process. The included moisture lessens the need for added oil in cooking, so this technique tends to produce food that is lower in fat than some other methods.
Before cooking, soak your clay pot in water for 15 to 30 minutes. This should ensure the proper amount of absorbed liquid.
Try it out with this Clay Pot Baked Chicken recipe.
Pressure CookingPressure cooking, incredibly popular from the 1950s through 1970s in American cooking, has lost some of its pizazz in recent years. Despite this fall in popularity, pressure cooking is a great way to prevent leaching of vitamins and minerals during the cooking process.
When using your pressure cooker, be sure to stop the cooking process before checking on the progress of your dish. Much care is needed when using this cooking method as chances of scalding from escaping steam are much higher than more conventional methods.
Try it out with this Tuscan Lamb Shank recipe.